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Court Rules Sending Too Many Emails Is "Hacking" 317

An anonymous reader writes "An appeals court has ruled that having people send a company a lot of emails (in this case, a union protesting a company's business practices) qualifies as hacking under the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act. We're not even talking about a true DDoS action here, but just a bunch of protest emails. Part of the problem is that the company apparently set up their email to only hold a small number of emails in their inbox, and the court seems to think the union should take the blame for stuffing those inboxes."
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Court Rules Sending Too Many Emails Is "Hacking"

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  • by mcmonkey ( 96054 ) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @03:05PM (#37047496) Homepage

    What about a company sending a lot of emails to a person?

  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @03:36PM (#37047900) Homepage Journal

    No, *I* wouldn't send them thousands, because that's simply a harassment. However, if I disagree with a company's actions, I might well decide to be one of thousands of people to send them AN email to let them know what I think. It's perfectly valid to ask individuals to let someone (or something in the case of a corporation) know you don't approve of them.

    The intent is to communicate and email is for communication, so there is no abuse happening.

    Here's a good thought experiment, I post in a /. story that everyone should email their congressman and let them know what they think. Did I just "hack" Congress? Am I assaulting the U.S. government? Or am I exercising my 1st amendment rights, participating in a demopcratic government, and urging others to do the same?

    Beyond that, if their email system is such a creaking rust bucket that it can't handle a thousand emails, it was hardly a "sound" system.

  • by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @03:38PM (#37047930)

    Then what of the slashdot effect? What really is *normal*? If we post this, then crater their website, are we guilty, too? I think not. If they can't do the normal thing and empty their mailboxes in a reasonable manner, then the onus is on the company. The judge will have his ruling overturned.

I've got a bad feeling about this.